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He’s a rather thin man, hates it when they call him skinny.  But he’s a runner and likes how he is – he finds himself gracile, his own word for his graceful, slender appearance.  We don’t know much about him, really.  His story may be this book but he keeps himself at a comfortable distance, which for him is a little further than most.  We can see him interact with his partner (Wife? Girlfriend?), even hear them speak but it is as if we’re peering through their apartment windows, following him as he runs, spying on him in his office.  I doubt he realizes he’s so distant.  And it appears that, perhaps due to his distance, he is shrinking still.

Long Slow Distance by Thomas Phillips is what one might call a minimalist story.  A mere 115 pages and a character whose name we don’t even know, it’s a very talented Thomas Phillips who pulls off writing in such a manner while still connecting to his audience.  “Distance” seems to be the key word to this story, as the main character certainly keeps his.  Yet even though we don’t get to know him that well, our desire to do so keeps us reading, piecing together what we can.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve all known such people, and as any reader knows, it’s the mysteries of human nature and a bit of a voyeuristic spirit that keeps most of us up to our eyeballs in books.  Long Slow Distance gives the voyeur-by-book a good fix, and gives it brilliantly.  As our runner all but disappears, leaving little more than fleeting shadows as the book progresses, Phillips’ ability to hold his readers’ rapt attention is nothing short of extraordinary.  A fascinating main character and an even more riveting writing style makes Long Slow Distance a worthy piece of literature.

Published by Object Press.

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In Michael Malone’s brand new novel The Four Corners of the Sky, Annie’s father gave her a lot more than an old broken-down airplane when he took off.  After leaving her to be raised by her aunt and uncle, he also gave her a mystery to solve years later; a mystery that would change everything.  Annie’s father Jack is a con artist who, after abandoning his daughter for years without any word, has resurfaced and suddenly needs her help.  Now a successful Navy pilot, Anne isn’t so willing to take the bait – but perhaps if he agrees to finally tell her who her mother is…

The Four Corners of the Sky is suspenseful, humorous, and filled with mystery.  New York Times Best-Selling Author Michael Malone gives us a host of unforgettable characters, both dramatic and humorous, and a plot that will keep you guessing right up to the end.  This his tenth novel, Malone offers an entertaining read to a large audience base.  Whether you’re a mystery, romance, thriller, or comedy reader, you’ll find it in aces in The Four Corners of the Sky.

Want to win your own hardcover copy?  The book debuted this week, so enter to win while you’re still the first in your book club to hear about it! ($24.99 retail)

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just give me a con!  Try and sell me a watch, snow me, or tell me about a con you experienced or heard about.  Ever buy some land in Florida?  Get creative!  (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Tuesday, May 19, 2009, to enter.

Click Here for More Giveaways

So much about The Five Lost Days appeals to my adventurous side.  Taking place in Belize, a small Latin American country I long to see, it focuses on Michael Burns, a documentary film director who takes his crew to the jungles to film a “curandero”.  Curanderos are a sort of Mayan medicine man, close to extinction.  Their focus on herbs and medicinal plants only heightened my fascination with the book.

Kelly, an American who lives in the jungle with distant pot-smoking rebel husband Frank, works for an American pharmaceutical company.  She was sent to Belize ten years previous to study the healing plants; in her love for the jungle and a deep affection for the elderly curandero, she stays on much longer than she’d originally intended.

As Burns soon finds out, the five days he’s scheduled to film are considered in Mayan tradition to be The Five Lost Days – an evil time Mayans of the old ways see fit to stay home and wait out in fear  But the show must go on… if Burns can help it.

 

Multiple Options for Entry:

1.) Just tell me why you’d like to read The Five Lost Days (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Friday, March 20, 2009, to enter.

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

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If you’ve ever read a book based on the story of King Arthur, you probably have a pretty good idea on the story line.  Perhaps you remember the sword in the stone, his love Guinevere, or the magical Merlin.  Helen Hollick gives readers a fresh new look at a magnificent tale that has fascinated many for generations.  The Kingmaking strips away everything you thought you knew about Arthur’s life.  

The first part of a trilogy, The Kingmaking gives us a rather realistic look into what Arthur’s life may have been like before becoming a king (if indeed he did exist at all – no one’s sure!)  Gone are such fantastical elements as a small boy pulling the Excalibur from a stone; but what Hollick has replaced these scenes with will leave readers wondering if she’s known something of the truth all along. 

While The Kingmaking is a work of fiction, it reads as a well-researched historical dramatization.  Most certainly much research has gone into adding credibility and an amazing amount of detail to the book.  Anyone with the least bit of interest in such history (the book takes place in the mid 400’s AD) will thoroughly enjoy the rich and historical detail.  I closed the book feeling I’d learned a great deal about the time period, and in fact felt I’d not only read about, but visited Britain’s Dark Ages.

Most impressive of all is Hollick’s ability to lose the reader in her craft of storytelling.  Scenes come alive, jumping off the page and engaging the reader.  Many was the time during this 600-page novel when a battle scene had me so drawn in I was sure I could physically hear it.  I even remember one scene jumping and thinking, “I hope it doesn’t wake my son!”  No, he slept peacefully as I sat in the living room engaged in battle from my couch.  Fortunately I had a sword at the ready for protection.

Not once during The Kingmaking did I ever think, “My, what a long book!  I’m ready for something else.”  No, instead I finished with a sigh, wondering where the time went and hoping that Helen Hollick has that second of the Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy well underway.  Because I don’t know how long I’ll be able to wait to get back to old Britain.

I am happily bestowing carp(e) libris reviews’ Goldfish Award on The Kingmaking.  I dub it an award-winner most certainly!

Want to win your own copy of The Kingmaking?  I thought you would…

 

Rules for Entry:

1.) Just Leave a Comment telling me why you’d be interested in reading The Kingmaking.   (You may enter once a day – following entries don’t require you to answer the question.) Remember, leave an interesting comment.  If I cannot contact the winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.

2.) Email subscribers get an extra entry for as long as their subscription is active.

     Already a subscriber?  Leave me a separate comment on this post to let me know you’re interested in this giveaway.

     Want to subscribe?  Just enter your email address in the “Subscribe” box on the left. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you do not receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post.  Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – I may have to approve it first.  My blog might think it’s spam but gosh darn, I certainly don’t!)

4.) I’m feeling Twittery.  If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry! (I’m dkmommy if you want to follow me.)

Feel free to do all four to gain several entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, to enter.

Follow the booktour for The Kingmaking and find some great new book blogs:

http://harrietdevine.typepad.com/ 2/20

http://lazyhabits.wordpress.com/ 2/21 and interview 2/27

http://carpelibrisreviews.com/ 2/23

http://www.historicalnovels.info/BookReviews.html 2/23

http://www.bibliophilemusings.com/ 2/23

http://lilly-readingextravaganza.blogspot.com/ 2/23 and guest blog 2/25

http://booksaremyonlyfriends.blogspot.com/ 2/25

http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/ 2/26 and guest blog 2/27

http://webereading.blogspot.com/ 2/26

http://www.caramellunacy.blogspot.com 2/26

http://www.chikune.com/blog/ 2/27

http://bookthoughtsbylisa.blogspot.com/ 3/1

http://www.skrishnasbooks.com/ 3/1

http://jennifersrandommusings.wordpress.com/ 3/1

http://rhireading.blogspot.com/ 3/1

http://passagestothepast.blogspot.com/ 3/2

http://thetometraveller.blogspot.com/ 3/2

http://steventill.com/ 3/2

http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com/ 3/2 and interview 3/3

http://astripedarmchair.wordpress.com/ 3/3

http://www.CarlaNayland.org 3/3

http://readersrespite.blogspot.com/ 3/3 and interview on 3/5

http://libraryqueue.blogspot.com/ 3/4

http://thebookworm07.blogspot.com/ 3/4

http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/ 3/5

http://samsbookblog.blogspot.com 3/5

http://goodbooksbrightside.blogspot.com/ 3/5

http://teddyrose.blogspot.com/ 3/6

http://sculpturepdx.blogspot.com 3/6

Check out all current giveaways for both my blogs here.

Click Here for Giveaways & Coupon Codes

Most people are fascinated by the con job, myself included.  Maybe it’s the mystery of the underworld, perhaps it’s the brilliance of schemes most of us are too moral to contemplate.  Whatever our motives for finding enjoyment in con jobs, one can look to books and movies like “The Sting”, “Paper Moon”, or “Ocean’s Eleven” to verify the popularity.  I’d say Dizzy City fits comfortably into this category.

Dizzy City by Nicholas Griffin is the story of Benedict Cramb, a 1916 English soldier of the Great War.  After deserting and running off to America, he hooks up with a master con artist who takes him under his wing.  As con artists try to pull one over on con artists, readers will marvel at the complexity of plot.  Dizzy City had such brilliant twists and turns that I often grinned or laughed out loud whenever Griffin caught me offguard, which was regularly.  It seemed every chapter or two something happened to throw me off the trail of where the story would lead.  And I’m not easily fooled.  Maybe it’s all the book reviewing I do, but I’m always annoyed that I figure out endings before the book is near completion.  I’ve been banned from guessing during movies because my husband tires of me figuring it out.  But Dizzy City?  No way.  I hadn’t a clue where it was going, and I thoroughly enjoyed being fooled.  Perhaps being conned.

Dizzy City is Nicholas Griffin’s fourth historical novel.  His latest proves to be heavily researched, full of rich living detail, and completely captivating.  If you’re in the market for a mystery, a historical novel, or for a con job, Dizzy City is your next fix.

Published by Steerforth Press.

09. December 2008 · Comments Off on The End of the Straight and Narrow – David McGlynn · Categories: Book Reviews, Fiction, Short Stories · Tags: ,

Like most avid readers, I tend to seek out books with a unique voice.  When you read several books a month, it’s easy to find commonalities in books that others might not see.  For instance, there are certain themes that tend to crop up in short story collections again and again.  But I’m happy to tell you The End Of The Straight And Narrow dispensed with all those similarities that can have many active readers yawning in their shirtsleeves.  

The End of the Straight and Narrow manages to be unique without being outlandish or unrelatable.  The subject matter of author David McGlynn’s stories often focuses on the lives and difficulties of people who happen to be Christians.  I say “happen to be” because it’s nether in-your-face proselytizing, nor is it an exercise in faith-bashing, but a true-to-life look at how people really are, flaws and all.  Most of the stories link together having the same characters emerge; new plots, different viewpoints, a different slot of time.  But each story can easily stand on its own two feet.

At first I even hesitated to mention the Christian aspect because I didn’t want anyone to view this book as Christian fiction.  But I can’t imagine skipping over it.  Depth of faith has such a hold on these stories, and in such a fresh way, that any reviewer would be remiss to brush past it.  I’ve often wondered why authors incorporating faith into their stories wouldn’t take an approach such as McGlynn did.  Too often writers either glamorize or tear apart their faith-filled characters, trying to make either a sainted or an ugly example of them whether they be Christian, Jew, Muslim or other.  Personally I find it refreshing to see believing people be believable.  So thanks to David McGlynn.  My brain, as well as my soul, enjoyed the ride to The End Of The Straight And Narrow.

Published by Southern Methodist University Press.

When a photographer stumbles upon a Kentucky mountaintop homestead and upsetting one of the residents, everything for this small community begins to change and shift.  Chain reactions are set into place, and the results in Ziesk’s latest novel The Trespasser will draw you into a world where you will definitely change your mind over and over again about who the trespasser really is.  Living in the Appalachians is its own unique challenge, and not for everyone.  Sometimes it’s for hermits who never want to leave, other times it becomes a prison to those who don’t want to stay.  Whichever one you turn out to be, The Trespasser is a book you’ll stay with to the end.

I loved Ziesk’s style of writing; very visual, beautiful writing with just the right amount of darkness about it.  The characters are well-constructed and believable, the scenery plays like a movie in your mind, and the plot took turns I never expected.  When you read a lot of books, this is a nice surprise indeed!  Overall, her style offers something I always look for in a book: an air of mystery with characters I keep thinking back to long after the book is closed.  The Trespasser just has to receive the Goldfish Award, and I happily give it.

Edra Ziesk has written two other novels: Acceptable Losses: A Novel and A Cold Spring.  Will I be looking for them?  Most definitely.

We’re not all pleasant people; we have flaws, some of us more than others.  Sometimes we do or think despicable things.  This may not be the best way to conduct life, but it does make for an interesting character for a book.  In April Fool, George Willets is at a point in his life where maybe he’s just a wee bit too comfortable.  His daily routine with his wife is just that – routine.  The boredom he endures begins to be too much for him; so when he meets the perfect woman, he feels his luck is about to change.  It may be changing, but whether or not it’s for the better is what makes this book a great read.

Author John Neufeld does an excellent job at taking a distasteful personality and turning him into someone a reader wants to spend time with and learn about.  This is a difficult task for any writer; despite George’s behavior and his desire to consider murder an option for getting out of a rut, I still somehow rooted for George and hoped he’d find the error of his ways.  The book was entertaining and a pleasure to read, filled with humor, suspense, and politically incorrect characters.  I doubt there was a noble one in the bunch, which made it all the more interesting.

John Neufeld has written over 20 novels for adults and young readers, and has been nominated for an Edgar, been twice included in the Sunday New York Times’ Best Books of the Year, and has been published in several countries as well.  I’m happy to tell you I have a copy of April Fool to give to one carp(e) libris reviews reader.

3 Ways to Win:

1.) Have you known people with major character flaws?  Of course you have! But did you like them anyway?  Do share.  Be thoughtful with your comment! Winners are randomly chosen, but if the name drawn doesn’t respond, I choose the next winner by comment.

2.) Email subscribers are entered into this and all future giveaways, for as long as their subscription is active. Simply place your email address in the little white box at the top of my sidebar on the right. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post.

Do all three, and you’ve got three entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Saturday, October 25, 2008, to enter.

Congratulations to Rebekah, the winner of The Front Porch Prophet.  

A.J. has just discovered his best friend is deathly ill, so he decides it’s time they got over their rift and made amends.  But Eugene is no simple friend.  His dying requests are killers.  What A.J. has to face is more than just sorting through their friendship’s past.  He also has some big decisions to make, and it’s time to see how far he’ll go for friendship.

Set in the mountains of Georgia, The Front Porch Prophet gives the reader a look at quirky small town life.  Amidst humorous dialogue and unusual townsfolk, Atkins weaves a tale that will have the reader hard-pressed to set the book down. The Front Porch Prophet is a touching and clever novel that looks at life, death, and friendship with a warm Southern slant.  If you like John Nichols (The Milagro Beanfield War), you’re gonna love Raymond L. Atkin’s new novel.  This book does all the things a good novel should do:  It inspires, brings on the tears, makes you laugh out loud.  That’s why The Front Porch Prophet gets the Goldfish Award.  And that’s why I’m so pleased to tell you I have an extra autographed copy to give away.  

If you don’t win, do yourself a favor and go buy a copy of The Front Porch Prophet.  This is the kind of novel to read when the autumn weather is moving in and you just want to curl up in your favorite spot with an absorbing book.  

3 Ways to Win:

1.) Leave a comment telling me what you’ve done for a friend or what they’ve done for you.  Did it change you?  Did it change your friendship?  Be thoughtful with your comment! Winners are randomly chosen, but if the name drawn doesn’t respond, I choose the next winner by comment.

2.) Email subscribers are entered into this and all future giveaways, for as long as their subscription is active. Simply place your email address in the little white box at the top of my sidebar on the right. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post.

Do all three, and you’ve got three entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Monday, October 6, 2008, to enter.


Every parent faces it at some point or another – empty nest syndrome. In Liam’s Going, Cathleen and Noah prepare to start this new and unfamiliar stage of their lives after their son Liam leaves for college. As Cathleen drives with her son to drop him off at college and Noah stays behind to give mother and son much-needed alone time, each of them flash back to the defining moments of their lives, both together and apart.

Author Michael Joyce has a sensitivity to language that brings an almost poetic feel, quite appropriate for a story whose protagonist Cathleen is a poet herself. Join that with realistic character building, wonderful dialogue, and a touching plot, you’ll find you have a book that’s both a pleasure and a heartbreak to absorb.

McPherson & Company is giving away one copy of Liam’s Going to a carp(e) libris reviews reader, so if you’re in the mood for a good read, enter to win!

3 Ways to Win:

1.) Leave a comment telling me if you’re an empty nester; or were you the one who left the nest? What do you remember about that? Have fun with your comment! Winners are randomly chosen, but if the name drawn doesn’t respond, I choose the next winner by comment.

2.) Email subscribers are entered into this and all future giveaways, for as long as their subscription is active. Simply place your email address in the little white box at the top of my sidebar on the right. (Please make sure to verify your Feedburner subscription by responding to the email they send you. If you don’t receive it, check your junk mail. Only verified subscriptions are entered for all the giveaways.)

3.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post.

Do all three, and you’ve got three entries to win! You have until midnight EST on Monday, September 22, 2008, to enter.